What I would propose is a Department of Education program that would offer a voucher to every K-12 school in America—both public and private—that it could use to hire two armed security guards, but only be used for that purpose.
The horrible, tragic killing of so many innocent young children in a Connecticut school at the hands of a psychically diseased monster unleashed a flood of grief among our people. But among our soi disant progressive elites, it was immediately welcomed as great ammunition in their never-ending war against guns.
Leading the way, need one say, was the Obama administration, so desperately eager to use the dead children for political gain. The administration revealed itself to be, in the truest sense of the word, ghoulish. Yes, the same corrupt crowd who gave us the motto “Never let a crisis go to waste!” came up with a new twist: “Never let children’s corpses go to waste!” The administration and major Democrats in Congress immediately renewed their demand that “automatic weapons like assault rifles be banned.” And Obama is now telling us this will be a major goal in 2013: go after the guns!
We are to never mind that assault rifles (the ones available to civilians, anyway) are not automatic (I.e., they are not machine guns, which have been illegal for going on a century in America). Never mind that in any case, assault rifles are and were already banned by Connecticut law, long hailed as especially tough on guns. Never mind that cities known for their fierce anti-gun ordinances—such as Chicago—are still high in murder rates. Never mind that the term “assault rifle” cannot be meaningfully defined (i.e., defined in any way that essentially distinguishes them from any other semi-automatic rifles). Never mind that rifles are not often used in murder—in fact, more murders are committed with hammers or clubs than with rifles. Never mind that the gun laws we already have are not particularly well-enforced. Never mind that the guns this administration allowed into Mexico in the “Fast and Furious” debacle killed far more people.
And for that matter, we are to never mind that the number of gun-related murders in America has been steadily declining for decades: in 1993, there were 6.6 gun murders per 100,000 people, but by 2011, it had dropped to less than half that (3.2 per 100,000). And we are to never mind that our national murder rate, while now only slightly higher than that for Europe, is below the world average, and far below that of Latin America and Africa where guns are generally outlawed.
Perhaps that most predictably extreme voice was that of Governor Cuomo (D-NY), who promptly proposed that all “assault” weapons be not just banned, but confiscated. He leavened his progressive fascism a bit by suggesting that the confiscation could take the form of “mandatory sale to the state.” “Here, pal, here’s a buck—which we got by taxing you to begin with–for your gun…now hand it over or we’ll blow your head off! We’re tired of violence!”
Of course, it only took approximately a second for the race card to be played: Michael Moore, leftist propagandist extraordinaire, said that support of the Second Amendment is based upon racism. He suggested of gun ownership that it “cuts down to the heart of our race problem that we still haven’t resolved.” He further opined, “I think we’ve been frightened ever since we landed on these shores. We were frightened of the native people… We were frightened of the slaves we brought over, as we should have been.”
We are to never mind that those slaves were freed only by the use of guns, of course.
Making the leftist Democrat cacophony about eliminating gun rights so richly ironic is that these same concerned clowns–the administration and its myrmidons in Congress—had refused to renew the $200 million in federal funding to schools for security equipment and personnel. Hell, the Obama administration even ended funding of the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools program, a program aimed at helping schools prepare for just such mass tragedies as this. Considering the fact that the administration never wants to cut funding for anything else, what are we to think?
Odd, I didn’t hear the MSM even mention this. Nor did Michael Moore mention it, for that matter.
But then a wondrous thing occurred. The NRA, which had withheld initial comment until the facts could be ascertained—something the “progressives” never bothered to do—finally called a press conference. Wayne LaPierre, bête-noir of the anti-Second Amendment crowd, and spoke truth to the liberal MSM power.
To the various MSM hacks assembled there, LaPierre had an in-your-lying-leftist-faces message that was just brilliant—though not one I entirely accepted.
LaPierre had to talk in the midst of fiercely leftist “Code-Pink” demonstrators, shouting and tring to stop LaPierre from speaking. (No doubt these loopy leftist agit-prop creatures were let in by the worthies in the MSM).
But, God love him, LaPierre sure as hell dressed them down. He pointed out that violence in our society is exploited by the same MSM that so conspicuously decries it. He noted the obvious role that Hollywood movies, violent video games, and violent rap music play in creating a “culture of violence” in our country.
Here I would demur: while it is likely that the media saturating children with violent entertainment has some causal role in creating violence, it is surely slight, and in any case, the First Amendment needs to be respected as much as does the Second.
He then said something that I would hope would be obvious to anyone (but which I fear is beyond the ken of progressive liberals): “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
And he proposed a novel and superb idea: create a federal program to put armed guards in every school in the nation.
I couldn’t agree more. Now, LaPierre didn’t spell out the details. Let me try. Let me see if I can outline assort of program that would be broadly classically liberal and narrowly constitutional. I would suggest that he federal Department of Education offer all K-12 schools in America—all, both public and private—two full-time armed guards. Two, yes, oh God, and full-time.
More exactly, what I would propose is a Department of Education program that would offer a voucher to every K-12 school in America—both public and private—that it could use to hire two armed security guards, but only be used for that purpose. By the very term “voucher” I mean that any school could simply decline to use it. (Of course, if a school administrator declined the voucher, and subsequently a maniac killed the kids in the school, well, no doubt that administrator would have some explaining to do. But that is not coercion; it is merely free will in the face of consequences. Under the program I suggest, if you want to protect the kids under your guard, fine, you can. If not, fine as well.
So what would a program like this cost? I mean, are we talking about here, buck wise? Well, I’m talking about private guards (i.e., using private sector employees, contracted by the government), not federal agents or local policeman—you know, members of some freaking public employees union. God knows, we absolutely do not want another TSA! Private school guards average about $31,500 a year. So two armed guards would cost about $63,000 a year.
Now, there are about 132,656 k-12 schools in America, again, public and private. So if every school accepted the federal funding I propose, it would cost the nation about $8.4 billion a year. That would be the most: actually, many schools already have armed guards, or access to them.
I can just hear two sorts of objection, one from progressive liberals, and one from libertarians. Let me take each in turn.
First from the progressive liberals, the hypocritical query would be, where would the country get the money? This was the response from the liberal media and some Democrat hacks to LaPierre’s suggestion. Of course, the progressives never bothered to ask that of any liberal program in the past, especially ObamaCare. Now they are suddenly worried about what—deficit spending? Really, dudes?
Such hypocrisy is just amazing.
Of course, I could think of any number of programs that could be ended or cut back to free up resources that should indeed be used to hire private security guards for all the schools. Start by ending all subsidies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, sell off the USPS, end the ObamaPhone program, and end subsidies for AMTRAC— the list is virtually endless. The money’s already there—A HUNDRED, NAY, A THOUSAND FOLD!—the administration can just find it and use it to actually protect the kids.
Second, progressive liberals often object to the very notion that guns should be allowed in schools. They solemnly intone, “Our children need to be in gun-free zones!’
But this seems just silly to me. To begin with, the fact that schools are traditionally “gun-free zones” is obviously what makes them targets for madmen. When was the last time you heard of a crazed shooter attacking an army base, a police station, or a bank? Not often—but those places are protected by armed guards.
Moreover, it’s not as if armed guards protecting schools is some weird new concept. In K-12 schools, as I said above, many schools have them now. (California, for example, already allows this). Moreover, nearly one half of all public schools have assigned police officers. And can you name any college or university in America that doesn’t have armed campus police? Freaking spare me, Jackson!
Then again, I can just hear objections from some libertarians: “But what makes it the job of government to provide security for schools? And shouldn’t that be the job of the states and localities, where the Constitution specifies policing functions to be done? And why is there such a need for this program, anyway?”
In reply, first, as Milton Friedman was fond of saying, I am no anarchist. There is a role for government, a limited one, to be sure. It is the major legitimate role of government is to protect the life, liberty and property of the citizenry. That is, to be specific, first and foremost, to protect the citizens from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Now, of course traditionally this has been the province of the state and local authorities. But there are a million existing federal programs to aid state and local agencies. Some of the more obvious include the Police Executive Fellowship Program, and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program, not to mention the aforementioned programs for federal funding of security equipment and personnel. This is constitutionally speaking settled law. There is absolutely nothing new in my proposal for a federal voucher program for K-12 schools, the federal government is already offering assistance to local and state police departments. I just suggest one that goes to the heart of the problem.
A libertarian might say why do the deaths of 20 children in a school call for special proposals for federal intervention, when as many or more kids die in school bus accidents or other bad things?
The answer is certainly partly pragmatic. While school bus accidents may (or may not!) claim as many victims, those deaths are not used by the left as effectively to deny us our constitutional rights. And, as a matter of fact, many schools in America are not taking steps to protect children from armed attacks, while virtually all of them are taking steps to protect children from school bus accidents.
This seems to me to be a general issue with libertarians. To many issues where progressives legitimately point to a problem, they typically reply with indifference, or the failure to mention options. Purely as a sales strategy (not to mention a moral one!), this is rather lame. You can’t reply to a something with a nothing. And as a matter of consistency, I like to offer affirmative proposals for negative ones. To the idea that school kids are dying and that we need to deprive all citizens of some or all of their Second Amendment rights, or some or all of their First Amendment ones (to play violent video games, watch violent movies, or listen to violent rap music), I would reply that we should just augment FEDERAL PROGRAMS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS to protect all school kids in a truly effective way.
This is what I think the estimable LaPierre is getting at. LaPierre has shown more compassion here than has the administration. He has made Obama, Moore, Cuomo and their cronies in the MSM look like the heartless freaking phonies they are.
He made my day.